ESU contributing to educational empowerment in Kazakhstan
ESU has been continuing to help the reform of educational systems and to empower student around the globe with a visit to the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan in early February by Vice-Chair, Anita Lice. Organised by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan in co-operation with the Magna Charta Observatory, the event was a response to Kazakh requests for assistance to join the Process. Such is the level of enthusiasm that even without being an official part of the Process, the country has taken major steps towards implementation of the Bologna reforms: the 3 tier higher education structure is in place, along with the a clear commitment to develop a credit system, which already has been set up, while a quality assurance system is also under construction. The expertise of ESU and its partners is therefore much sought-after in order for the country to learn more and to fully understand the Bologna Process principles, structures and tools.
Hosted at the Kazakh National University in the largest city in Kazakhstan, Almaty, the seminar included an outline of Kazakh goals for its higher education system and sessions introducing the Bologna Process and especially the global dimension of the Bologna Process, qualifications, credits and mobility as well as principles and values of the Process, with speakers including Vera Štastná, Czech Ministry of Education, Chair of the Bologna Follow Up Group spring 2009 and Sjur Bergan, Head of Department for Higher Education and History, Council of Europe. Anita also gave the Kazakhs an introduction to the Social Dimension and student participation in Europe through a special presentation during the seminar, covering how it works in ESU, how we are organised, how we work with our members and about the student participation culture in Europe. The visit also served to give ESU a useful insight into Kazakhstan’s student culture through meetings with officials and students of the Kazakh National Agrarian University. With the latter focussing primarily on social, cultural and sport events as well as on patriotic education of students, there was very big interest on ESU and European experience in regular student involvement in educational management processes. The information exchange has begun and relationships have been established. The rest is, hopefully, a matter of time.